This poem is based upon Luke 10:21-42 which includes the parable of the Good Samaritan and the account of Jesus in Martha and Mary’s house. It’s my belief that Jesus’ interaction with the lawyer (the context of Jesus telling the parable) and his visit with Martha both took place on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem and comprise two scenes for the same instruction. In the case of both the lawyer testing Jesus and Martha who is testy with Jesus, they have failed to see who stands before them and what He could offer them should they ask. The lawyer feels the desire to justify himself (“Who is my neighbor?”) and Martha is distracted with much serving (“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”). The passages begin with this provocative invitation of Jesus speaking privately with his disciples, which we have the benefit of overhearing, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Luke 10:23,24).
If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the poem via the player below.
He had long sought these things to see,
But being blinded by self-justification,
The lawyer tried with an inquiry
To test the teacher’s sophistication–
A subtle attempt at trickery
She had long listened, labored in care
For a word of mercy for her sibling’s wants;
Though she served, worked, managed affairs,
Death’s specter yet threatens and haunts.
She thirsts for life to well-up somewhere–
A free flowing font.
Help arrived in time on the Jericho Road
To this lawyer and sister hung’ring in need
Whose own back is for their burdens bowed,
Who for distractions and excuses bleeds:
A Samaritan to carry the load
Whose own body feeds.
© Randy Edwards 2017
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artist: Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (Cristo en casa de Marta y María), c.1618, oil on canvas.